Episode 102: In Kerala, Stepping In To Fill In The Blanks

Hello and welcome to The Moving Curve. I’m Rukmini, a data journalist based in Chennai. Two nights a week on this mini-cast, I consider one question around the novel coronavirus epidemic in India. Tonight I’m considering this one — can citizen oversight help keep the government’s covid numbers honest?

My reporting for IndiaSpend on missing deaths in India’s count is here.

Here’s reporting from Arunabh Saikia on Assam that found similarly.

Dr Arun N Madhavan is on Twitter here.

You can see the spreadsheet he references here.

By building a narrative that the state that reports the most numbers is the one that is doing the worst, rather than being the one that is doing the best at transparency, I fear that we’ve created an environment where we’ve completely disincentivised honest reporting and this sort of dialogue. Not that this excuses a government like Kerala — honest reporting is a duty, even in the face of hostile media reporting. I thank Dr Madhavan for his work and for speaking to me.

Thank you for listening. This episode was edited by Anand Krishnamoorthi. On the next episode — a new question.

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